Sixteen-year-old Anissa Weier is expected to be sentenced today, December 21, 2017, for her part in one of the most interesting and sad cases of attempted murder in recent American history. It’s a case that combined youth, possible mental illness, and a myth that originated from the Internet, the Slender Man.
Mythical Slender Man Blamed in Stabbing
On May 31, 2014, in Waukesha in Waukesha County, Wisconsin, a cyclist found a young girl, 12-year-old Payton Leutner, dragging herself out of the forest. She had been stabbed 19 times by her friends Anissa Weier and Morgan Geyser. The two girls had stabbed her to prove their worth to a creature they had discovered on the Internet known as Slender Man.
Slender Man is what is commonly referred to as a “creepypasta,” a made-up horror legend from the bowels of the Internet. Think of it as an urban legend for the digital age.
In this case, Slender Man was created by Eric Knudsen for an online forum Photoshop contest where the goal was to take everyday photos and make them creepy. Slender Man soon gained a life of its own, as the fictional origins of the character faded.
The Attempted Murder of Payton Leutner
Weier and Geyser discovered Slender Man through the Web, but did not realize that he was an imaginary character. Through their discovery of Slender Man, they convinced each other that they needed to appease the creature with a murder or risk being killed themselves.
They lured Leutner to the woods and stabbed her 19 times. They told Leutner that they would get help for her but instead left her to die in the woods. The two girls were quickly found along the interstate in Waukesha County.
While the girls apparently felt guilty for their actions, they also felt they had no choice but to make a sacrifice to Slender Man.
Geyser and Weier on Trial
Geyser would make a plea deal, and on October 7, 2017, she was found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect. Weier pleaded guilty to being a party to attempted second-degree homicide, but claimed she was not responsible for her actions on grounds of insanity, and the courts agreed.
Weier is currently awaiting her sentencing on December 21, 2017, which should require her to spend at least three years in a mental health facility. Their victim, Leutner, has recovered from her physical wounds, but the mental wounds are reportedly still there.